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Bernie Sanders introduces bill for single-payer health care nationwide
Sanders' plan would replace nearly all private health plans with a Medicare-like government program that would guarantee health coverage to all Americans.
By Jose Jefferies
Contributor
Jan 15, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill Wednesday to convert Medicare into a universal health-insurance program for all Americans. His "Medicare for All" proposal, which resembles the universal health insurance that he advocated for during last year's presidential primary, received 16 Democratic co-sponsors, including senators Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
"Health care in America must be a right, not a privilege," Sanders said in a fiery speech. "Today we begin the debate vital to the future of our economy as to why it is that in the United States we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation on Earth, and yet we have 28 million people without health insurance."
Sanders' plan would replace nearly all private health plans with a Medicare-like government program that would guarantee health coverage to all Americans.
Even some Democratic co-sponsors admitted that the bill is unlikely to make it through either Republican-controlled house of Congress in the foreseeable future. Booker told reporters that he agreed that he agreed with health coverage for all Americans but that "the question is the process of getting there."
However, the concept of universal health coverage appears to be gaining solid traction for the first time among Congressional Democrats. In addition to the numerous Democratic senators who signed onto Sanders' proposal, more than half of House Democrats have added their names to similar legislation this year.
This contrasts with Sanders' introduction of another universal health-care coverage bill several years ago, which received no support from Democratic lawmakers. Hillary Clinton likewise dismissed the concept as "unrealistic" during the campaign season last year and called instead for incrementally expanding Americans' health-care access by building on the Affordable Care Act.